China Biggest Dairy products manufacturer sells modified milks as pure milks

Original Article by Food Regulatory Team

It seems that unqualified food label of dairy products was misleading consumers in China. After this event, Chinese consumers will pay more attention to these labels and know how to understand the information on the labels.

Yesterday, China Mengniu Dairy Company was charged with unqualified food labeling by a consumer who is working on cracking down counterfeit goods. He said that ‘Jane raise new milk’, ‘Banana milk‘ and ‘Vanilla milk ‘ manufactured by the Mengniu are modified milks under national standard GB 25191, but not the pure milks under national standard GB 25190. Mengniu labelled ‘XX milk’ instead of ‘modified milk’ on the food labels which will mislead consumers. Lots of dairy companies ignore to indicate ‘modified milk’, instead, they prefer labeling their modified milk as ‘XX milk’ in China. Nevertheless, it is a common phenomenon in China’s dairy industry.

What are the differences between pure milk and modified milk?

Pure milk is a type of dairy product which raw bovine (or goat) milk was used as the main material or voluntarily recombined milk was added.

Modified milk is a type of dairy product which more than 80% raw bovine (or goat) milk or recombined milk was used as main materials, other ingredients and food additives can be also added. For example, sugar, vitamins and food flavoring will be added into modified milk.

According to the investigation result provided by Chongqing journalist, 90 percent of consumers thought the labeled ‘XX milk’ was pure milk, while only 10 percent of consumers realized that ‘XX milk’ as labeled, also contains other ingredients and food additives. The survey shows the way of labeling modified milk in China misleads the consumers. According to GB7718 General Rules for Labeling of Prepackaged Foods, such a way of labeling dairy products is incompliant.

Updated information

China Mengniu Dairy Company response to the public that they will take the responsibility to correct the incompliant label according to their actual ingredients based on the standards. It won’t take too long that other dairy companies will also modify the product labels and change the packaging for modified milk in the following weeks, since the leading diary company of China takes the action.

CIRS Comments

In China, food labels have become a growing concern among all regulatory issues over the last few years. According to CIQ, there will be fewer chances to correct the incompliant food labels for imported food. CIQ will return or destroy them directly at the border. Therefore, CIRS recommends companies to prepare correct food labels for their products prior to importing to China, especially for dairy products, to avoid unnecessary mistakes happening in the future.

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Ms. Cathy Yu , Senior Consultant, Food Safety Regulation, CIRS China
11F Dongguan Building, 288 Qiuyi Road, Binjiang District, Hangzhou, China, 310052
Tel : +86 571 8720 6564 | Fax : +86 571 8720 6533

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